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Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:09:44 +0000
(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) -- Cancer screenings can help people detect early signs of the disease or put their minds at ease if no trace of cancer is found.
However, Dr. Ronald Chen, a radiation oncologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says in a new study that too often elderly patients are screened for certain cancers that are of little consequence to them if they are only expected to live up to ten more years.
In particular, the aged are tested for prostate, breast, cervical and colon cancer, which are certainly serious but not so much as a person nears the end of life.
Chen and other cancer experts say quality of life may be adversely affected through biopsies and treatments such as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
According to Chen, both patients and physicians may have to be educated about the pros and cons of cancer screening.
Dr. Cary Gross, who wrote an accompanying editorial to Chen’s study, contends, “People should ask about their probability of dying from cancer if they are screened, compared to if they are not screened. Also, they should ask about which type of test is best for them, and why the doctor recommends it.”
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